March 8, 2019 at 2:39 pm #283745
Hi, I’ve been a longtime reader of Tiny Buddha but this is my first post. I’m at a loss on what to do here. A bit of background, my family is very small. I’m an only child, and there’s my mom, her brother (the problem here), his wife and kids. When my grandparents were alive things were great. But when my grandfather died 8 years ago it unleashed a nasty feud with my mom and uncle. Me and my cousins and aunt and grandma were in the middle, and it was hell for 7.5 years.
I was ALWAYS the peacekeeper, my cousins were too young to get involved, my grandmother was grieving her husband’s death, and my aunt buried her head in the sand. Well, my grandmother died in October and any restraint from my uncle was gone. He’s ruthless, greedy, and power hungry, and he is completely relentless when you argue with him. He would call me no joke, 6am to fight, all the way til midnight. It didn’t matter that I was with my 2 year old daughter, or at work. He would text like a maniac til I answered his calls.
It was all about trying to turn me against my mom, and make her feel like the black sheep. Also it was always about money and jealousy. He’s jealous of the property my mom gets to inherit. Long story short, I had just enough when right after the funeral for my grandmother was over he started pulling this manipulative harassment again trying to make my mom pay for things that should have been split evenly between them both. I finally told him that because of him and him alone I”ve been in therapy, that his harassment is toxic and I can’t do this anymore. His first reaction was to try to ban my cousins from speaking to me! That to me crossed the line so far. My aunt pretty much stayed out of it but thankfully she stood up for me and said me and my cousins can have a relationship cause we are so close. But it still has put a big strain on my family. I can’t talk to her or my cousins without feeling like this tension.
I am sad I can’t have a normal relationship with my cousins or aunt, or even my uncle. But I don’t want to let him back in. He’s yet to apologize or acknowledge ANY part of the blame, and basically called me a bad person. I will say I did all I could to try to keep peace in the family but it was never enough and it was taking a toll on me and my mental health.
Do I just cut my losses? Forgive and try to fix this? I’m afraid to open that door again.March 8, 2019 at 5:01 pm #283755
I would first look on why you want to stay in contact with your uncle. He is toxic.
Reach out to your cousins and aunt and let them know for your own health, you will no longer have any contact with your uncle. Emphasize that you do want to continue to have a relationship with each of them but it won’t be with your uncle around. Ask them that you hope they understand and that you cannot be with them if your uncle is there too. You need not give any more explanation or excuses.
Block your uncle from your phone, social media, etc.
Let go of your peacekeeper role.
MarkMarch 9, 2019 at 7:50 am #283791
When a big bad wolf huffs and puffs and threatens to blow your house down (from “The Three Little Pigs” story), you don’t open the door to the wolf. You don’t try to talk sense to the wolf. You don’t wait for his apology.
“Do I just cut my losses?”- yes. Make it so that there is absolutely no contact between you and him.
“Forgive and try to fix this?”- no, forgive and try to fix it, and you continue to be the victim of your big-bad-wolf-uncle.
“I’m afraid to open that door again”- understandably, there is a big-bad-wolf on the other side of the door, who wouldn’t be afraid.
anitaMarch 9, 2019 at 7:51 pm #283857
Thank you Mark and Anita for your replies.
Yes it does sound crazy to think I would want contact with someone so toxic. I don’t really think I do. When I logically think about it, I remember when I was a child, my uncle was a “cool” guy, someone I genuinely looked up to, and who was good to me. I remember he used to tape cartoons for me and showed me the classic scary old movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc). I’m an artist and he would draw with me.
I don’t know what happened that turned his heart so cold but it isn’t even just towards me and my mom, he’s now openly racist and homophobic and is just not a nice person in general. God knows how his wife and kids deal with him.
I think I miss what he used to be and get very sad thinking about how that person is gone. It’s like grieving over another death in a way. The person he was when my grandparents were alive is gone. And what has happened since can’t be undone and I can’t ever look at him the same. Even in recent times when there were brief moments of “peace”, I felt disgusted looking at him and hurt because of what he’s said and done.
My sense of justice is unfulfilled because I never got any apology or acknowledgement for all of the years of pain he has put pretty much my whole family through but especially my mother and I. So I guess it feels like there is no closure. That seems to be what I’m missing more than an actual relationship with him. How do you get closure when you can’t talk to the person anymore?
IMarch 9, 2019 at 11:57 pm #283909
Closure is a tricky thing. I just read a Psychology Today article on Ghosting which is related to not having closure. In your case, you are best to do the closure with yourself, i.e. write your uncle a letter about all the pain, sadness, disappointments and anger that you have with him. Then burn it. It would do no good to actually have him read it. The very process of doing this will help you.
MarkMarch 10, 2019 at 6:18 am #283925
“I remember when I was a child, my uncle was a ‘cool’ guy, someone I genuinely looked up to, and who was good to me… I miss what he used to be and get very sad thinking about how that person is gone. It’s like grieving over another death in a way”-
– a young child automatically looks up to any adult who is nice to the child, automatically trusts that adult completely and sees the adult as all-good. Later in life, the adult cherishes those memories.
I re-read your original post: there has been a feud between your mother and your uncle for 7.5 years, a feud that started after your grandfather died and intensified after your grandmother died last October. It is basically a feud between two siblings over the money and property left by parents, over inheritance and who pays for what following their death, if I understand correctly.
At times your uncle called and texted you “like a maniac” at 6 am repeatedly, “all the way till midnight” , arguing his case, trying to turn you against your mother while you were working and caring for your two year old. “He is jealous of the property my mom gets to inherit”.
Your uncle may have a valid case, financially and your mother may be unfair to him, I don’t know. The reason I referred to him earlier as the big-bad-wolf is because his behavior harms <i>his own children and your own daughter</i> in the process, distressing the children either directly or indirectly by distressing the children’s mothers, you and your aunt).
He should have gone about his case legally, through attorneys, and contain his words and actions to the legal route. Did he by the way, involve an attorney on the matter?
March 10, 2019 at 8:31 am #283937
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by anita.
He most definitely does not have a case and he knows it. My grandparents were very fair in what they left behind, and they did very well for themselves. They had two houses here, and left one for each child plus two houses in Sicily. My mom’s house is of greater value here but he gets a beachfront condo in Sicily and we get a small run down, basically uninhabitable house in a mountain town in Sicily where my grandmother was born. They also left money behind that was split 50/50. More than enough to cover the funeral equally. He truly is bitter and greedy. Because when my grandfather died he forced my grandmother to move and sold his future inheritance when the real estate market sucked. No one else wanted this but he was suddenly the “man” of the family and no one could stop him. He didn’t want to care for the house and made my grandmother move in with my mom (who has always lived in the home she has inherited…it was kind of given to my mom as a wedding gift when she and my dad married and my grandparents moved to the second home). So my uncle sold my grandmother’s house right out from under her and is now upset because my mom’s home has increased in value. It was his poor choice that made him lose money. My grandparents were very clear in both wills, stating my mothers house is hers “always and forever”. So I guess the only way he thinks he can change anything is through intimidation of my mom and I, as any lawyer would tell him my grandparents knew how they wanted to split their property. I guess a beachfront condo in Sicily and a free house just isn’t enough for some people!March 10, 2019 at 8:45 am #283943
I also want to add that he and my aunt are not hurting for money. They are both professionals, their daughter got a full ride to college, and they own a home with rental income.
My mom on the other hand is alone and disabled and managed to help put me through college by herself.
Hes a greedy pig.March 10, 2019 at 9:11 am #283951
Then better end all contact with him, block him from accessing you as well as accessing your mother, be it through ph0ne calls, texts and online otherwise. Better yet, see a lawyer and create a restraining order against him, forbidding him from contacting you or your mother in any way.